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New Hampshire Land Use Planning (1-NH-a)

In New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning (“OEP”) in the New Hampshire Office of Strategic Initiatives oversees local land use regulations and enforcement. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 9-A:2. The OEP encourages municipalities to develop local land use plans that are consistent with the State Comprehensive Plan. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 9-A:1 .



Land Use Planning Process

1-NH-a.1– Contact the Office of Energy and Planning

A developer should contact the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning (“OEP”) before beginning project construction to ensure compliance with state land use planning regulations and to determine which Regional Planning Commission (“Commission”) and local planning board have jurisdiction over the project.

The OEP aids in developing the State Comprehensive Plan and coordinates and monitors state and regional planning efforts. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 9-A:2 OEP also assists municipalities in “planning, growth management, and development activities.” N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 4C:1 . Generally, the OEP oversees and provides technical assistance and training for all regional and local land use planning and development. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 4C:25 .


1-NH-a.2 – Contact the Appropriate Regional Planning Commission (If Applicable)

A project developer should contact the appropriate Commission before beginning construction to ensure compliance with all master plans and regional regulations.

Commissions are formed through OEP delegation or municipal cooperation. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 36:46 . Commissions have the authority to prepare comprehensive master plans outlining rules and requirements for land use development in the Commissions’ jurisdictional region. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 36:47 . Commissions also have the authority to assist local planning boards and make recommendations on the basis of the rules and requirements outlined in the master plan. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 36:50 . In implementing master plans, Commissions may undertake studies and make specific recommendations on “economic, industrial and commercial development within the region.” N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 36:53 .


1-NH-a.3– Contact the Appropriate Local Planning Boards

A developer should contact the appropriate local planning board to ensure compliance with all local land use plans and regulations prior to initiating construction.

Local planning boards may adopt a Commission master plan in whole or in part, but retain the authority to implement local land use regulations. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 36:50 .

1-NH-a.4 to 1-NH-a.5 – Review State, Regional, and Local Land Use Plans and Zoning Regulations

A developer should review the state, regional, and local land use plans and zoning regulations where the proposed project is located prior to initiating construction.


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